“Milly drew the feet of water and…her companion floated off with the sense of rocking violently at her side.”

Popular Mechanics (1960)

Her situation, as such things were called, was on the grand scale; but it still was not that. It was her nature, once for all—a nature that reminded Mrs. Stringham of the term always used in the newspapers about the great new steamers, the inordinate number of “feet of water” they drew; so that if, in your little boat, you had chosen to hover and approach, you had but yourself to thank, when once motion was started, for the way the draught pulled you. Milly drew the feet of water, and odd though it might seem that a lonely girl, who was not robust and who hated sound and show, should stir the stream like a leviathan, her companion floated off with the sense of rocking violently at her side.

—Henry James, The Wings of the Dove

So I’d like to know where you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where you got the notion
To rock the boat,
Don’t rock the boat baby!

Uncle Vanya

VOITSKI: …I met her first ten years ago, at her sister’s house, when she was seventeen and I was thirty-seven. Why did I not fall in love with her then and propose to her? It would have been so easy! And now she would have been my wife. Yes, we would both have been waked tonight by the thunderstorm, and she would have been frightened, but I would have held her in my arms and whispered: “Don’t be afraid! I am here.” Oh, enchanting dream, so sweet that I laugh to think of it. [He laughs] But my God! My head reels! Why am I so old? Why won’t she understand me?…

–Anton Checkov, Uncle Vanya

And you can’t turn back
There is never any starting over
Parallel lines never do cross over…

 

in-the-garden-1200
Frau E. Nothmann, “In The Garden” (detail) (ca. 1896)

“White in the moon the long road lies”

Gertrude Kasebier, “Study Of A Boy” (1901)
and Martin-Eero Kõressaar, Eero – Reports (Night sky time-lapse compilation) – YouTube

White in the moon the long road lies,
The moon stands blank above;
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.

Still hangs the hedge without a gust,
Still, still the shadows stay:
My feet upon the moonlit dust
Pursue the ceaseless way.

The world is round, so travellers tell,
And straight though reach the track,
Trudge on, trudge on, ’twill all be well,
The way will guide one back.

But ere the circle homeward hies
Far, far must it remove:
White in the moon the long road lies
That leads me from my love.

–A. E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad: White in the moon the long road lies

See her how she flies
Golden sails across the sky
Close enough to touch
But careful if you try
Though she looks as warm as gold
The moon’s a harsh mistress
The moon can be so cold…

College

“Dr. Adams told me that Johnson, while he was at Pembroke College, ‘was caressed and loved by all about him, was a gay and frolicksome fellow, and passed there the happiest part of his life.’ But this is a striking proof of the fallacy of appearances, and how little any of us know of the real internal state even of those whom we see most frequently…”

—Boswell’s Life Of Johnson
 

far-from-the-madding-crowd-edit-1220
T. M. Weaver, “Far From The Madding Crowd” (ca. 1911)

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

A. L. Hitchin, “The Little Artist” (ca. 1919) and G. W. Harting, “Sketching” (ca. 1917)

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins, As Kingfishers Catch Fire (excerpt)

“Ah, ha! Come, some music!”

“Specimen Of Platinotype After Development”
from “The Book Of Photography, Practical, Theoretic And Applied”, Paul N. Hasluck, Ed. (1907)

HAMLET:
O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?

HORATIO:
Very well, my lord.

HAMLET:
Upon the talk of the poisoning?

HORATIO:
I did very well note him.

HAMLET:
Ah, ha! Come, some music! come, the recorders!
For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy.
Come, some music!

Hamlet

Got one for the money
Two for the show
Three for my honey
And four to let you know that I
Let the music do the talking…

The World Is Too Much With Us

Charles O’Rear, Las Vegas street scene (1972)

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

–William Wordsworth

One time a thing occurred to me…

“So are you to my thoughts as food to life”

So are you to my thoughts as food to life
Or as sweet-season’d showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As ’twixt a miser and his wealth is found;
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure;
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then better’d that the world may see my pleasure:
Sometime, all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starved for a look;
Possessing or pursuing no delight,
Save what is had or must from you be took.
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

–Sonnet LXXV

Whenever you’re on my mind
I leave the world behind…

 


LIFE (1957)

Time heals the wounds that no one can see

But if your heart,
Your heart has been broken
And you don’t wear it on your sleeve
No one can tell,
Your hell goes unspoken
But there’s one thing you must believe…

 

r-e-scaife-edit-1080

Untitled photograph by R. E. Scaife (ca. 1919)

“I can wade grief, whole pools of it,—”

cf. A. McFarlin, “A Symphony” (ca. 1918)

I can wade grief,
Whole pools of it,—
I ’m used to that.
But the least push of joy
Breaks up my feet,
And I tip—drunken.
Let no pebble smile,
’T was the new liquor,—
That was all!

–Emily Dickinson

Sad lady, blue lady…

“Ah think not you finally triumph, my real self has yet to come forth”

AH poverties, wincings, and sulky retreats,
Ah you foes that in conflict have overcome me,
(For what is my life or any man’s life but a conflict with foes, the
old, the incessant war?)
You degradations, you tussle with passions and appetites,
You smarts from dissatisfied friendships, (ah wounds the sharpest
of all!)
You toil of painful and choked articulations, you meannesses,
You shallow tongue-talks at tables, (my tongue the shallowest of
any;)
You broken resolutions, you racking angers, you smother’d ennuis!
Ah think not you finally triumph, my real self has yet to come
forth,
It shall yet march forth o’ermastering, till all lies beneath me,
It shall yet stand up the soldier of ultimate victory.

—Walt Whitman, “Ah Poverties, Wincings, And Sulky Retreats”

There it is – way down inside me…

 

despondency-1080
Arthur W. Walburn, “Despondency” (ca. 1911)

“His life was gentle, and the elements so mix’d in him…”

Börje Gallén, Fisherman and boy in Smygehuk (detail) (1954)

His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world “This was a man!”

—Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

The Changed Man

Drop by on Sunday—I’ll Turtlewax
your sky-blue sports car, no sweat. I’ll greet
enemies with a handshake, forgive debtors

with a papal largesse. It’s all because
of you. Because of you and me,
I’ve become one changed man.

–Robert Phillips, “The Changed Man” (excerpt) from Spinach Days (The Johns Hopkins University Press)

And then Bill got himself a wife,
Now he leads a different life…

“meanwhile my self etcetera lay quietly…”

LIFE (1966)

…meanwhile my
self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et
cetera
(dreaming,
et
cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

—e.e.cummings, my sweet old etcetera (excerpt)

More and more I’m thinkin’ ’bout love…

“In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood…”

In the midway of this our mortal life,
I found me in a gloomy wood, astray
Gone from the path direct…

–Dante Alighieri, Inferno


David Falconer, The Gas Shortage in the Pacific Northwest… (detail) (1973)

“But I can’t go on like this!” “Would you like a radish?”

Joseph A. Horne, Children with radishes grown in the Fairlawn Avenue Victory gardens (1943)

ESTRAGON: Ah! (Pause. Despairing.) What’ll we do, what’ll we do!

VLADIMIR: There’s nothing we can do.

ESTRAGON: But I can’t go on like this!

VLADIMIR: Would you like a radish?

ESTRAGON: Is that all there is?

VLADIMIR: There are radishes and turnips.

ESTRAGON: Are there no carrots?

VLADIMIR: No. Anyway you overdo it with your carrots.

ESTRAGON: Then give me a radish.

—Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

“Listen, you can say anything you want now. Here is the instrument.”

Music—the world that might be,
and yet the world as it is. The heart
comes out of hiding, saying to us:
“Listen, you can say anything you want now.
Here is the instrument.”

–Robert Winner, The Instrument (excerpt) from The Sanity of Earth and Grass (Tilbury House)

 
Daughter of FSA (Farm Security Administration) rehabilitation borrower listening to phonograph Edit Large

John Vachon, Daughter of FSA rehabilitation borrower listening to phonograph (detail) (1940)

“…making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy.”

cf. Home Movie: 98592 (1963)

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn’t this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy.

–A. Bartlett Giamatti, “The Green Fields of the Mind” (excerpt)

“Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may…”

Tom Hubbard, Strolling Among Pigeons at Fountain Square (1973)

He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said that, gathering leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide.
“Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may…”

And soon with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind,
But stately in the main; and, when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
“God,” said I, “be my help and stay secure;
I’ll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!”

—William Wordsworth, Resolution and Independence

Three days in the rain and I ain’t had no sleep
But I won’t break down now, I got a promise to keep
Showing my determination…

Early Success

cf. National Photo Company Collection, Man and woman in automobile (ca. 1920) and photograph by Wil Stewart via Unsplash

“Once in the middle twenties I was driving along the High Corniche Road through the twilight with the whole French Riviera twinkling on the sea below. As far ahead as I could see was Monte Carlo…It was not Monte Carlo I was looking at. It was back into the mind of the young man with cardboard soles who had walked the streets of New York. I was him again—for an instant I had the good fortune to share his dreams, I who had no more dreams of my own. And there are still times when I creep up on him, surprise him on an autumn morning in New York or a spring night in Carolina when it is so quiet that you can hear a dog barking in the next county. But never again as during that all too short period when he and I were one person, when the fulfilled future and the wistful past were mingled in a single gorgeous moment—when life was literally a dream.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Early Success”

Standing on top of the world for a little while…

“I’m sorry about the clock,” he said.

Harris & Ewing, Man and woman at punch bowl (1935 or 1936)

Gatsby, his hands still in his pockets, was reclining against the mantelpiece in a strained counterfeit of perfect ease, even of boredom. His head leaned back so far that it rested against the face of a defunct mantelpiece clock, and from this position his distraught eyes stared down at Daisy, who was sitting, frightened but graceful, on the edge of a stiff chair.

“We’ve met before,” muttered Gatsby. His eyes glanced momentarily at me, and his lips parted with an abortive attempt at a laugh. Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers, and set it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.

“I’m sorry about the clock,” he said.

My own face had now assumed a deep tropical burn. I couldn’t muster up a single commonplace out of the thousand in my head.

“It’s an old clock,” I told them idiotically.

I think we all believed for a moment that it had smashed in pieces on the floor.

“We haven’t met for many years,” said Daisy, her voice as matter-of-fact as it could ever be…

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Does anybody really know what time it is?
Does anybody really care?
If so I can’t imagine why…

“The Lady In The White Dress, Whom I Helped Into The Omnibus”

Charles O’Rear, Passengers view the scenery… (1974)

I know her not! Her hand has been in mine,
And the warm pressure of her taper arm
Has thrill’d upon my fingers, and the hem
Of her white dress has lain upon my feet,
Till my hush’d pulse, by the caressing folds,
Was kindled to a fever! I, to her,
Am but the undistinguishable leaf
Blown by upon the breeze — yet I have sat,
And in the blue depths of her stainless eyes,
(Close as a lover in his hour of bliss,
And steadfastly as look the twin stars down
Into unfathomable wells,) have gazed!
And I have felt from out its gate of pearl
Her warm breath on my cheek, and while she sat
Dreaming away the moments, I have tried
To count the long dark lashes in the fringe
Of her bewildering eyes! The kerchief sweet
That enviably visits her red lip
Has slumber’d, while she held it, on my knee, —
And her small foot has crept between mine own —
And yet, she knows me not!…

—Nathaniel Parker Willis, The Lady in the White Dress, Whom I Helped Into the Omnibus

It’s got what it takes
So tell me why can’t this be love?

Solid Objects

Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., “…Men’s clothing II” (1953)

“As his eyes passed from one to another, the determination to possess objects that even surpassed these tormented the young man. He devoted himself more and more resolutely to the search…”

—Virginia Woolf, Solid Objects

To My Twenties

Ernst Halberstadt, Sidewalk Cafe… (1973)

To My Twenties:

How lucky that I ran into you
When everything was possible…
Kenneth do you have a minute?
And I say yes! I am in my twenties!
I have plenty of time!…
I write a lot and am living all the time…
Twenties, my soul
Is yours for the asking
You know that, if you ever come back.

—Kenneth Koch, “To My Twenties”

“Men at forty learn to close softly the doors to rooms they will not be coming back to.”

from Northeastern University Bulletin (1974 -1975)

Men at forty
Learn to close softly
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to…

–Donald Justice, Men at Forty

Now I guess it’s too late to speculate
On things as they might have been…

Dolor

Erik Calonius, Commuters on Subway (1973)

I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places,
Lonely reception room, lavatory, switchboard,
The unalterable pathos of basin and pitcher,
Ritual of multigraph, paper-clip, comma,
Endless duplication of lives and objects…

—Theodore Roethke, Dolor (excerpt)

But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical…

When I Was One-and-Twenty

James Jowers, Woman And Window Display (1968)

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
“Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.”
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
“The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
’Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.”
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.

–A. E. Housman, When I Was One-and-Twenty

“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe…”

Alfred Stieglitz, Snapshot–from my window, New York (1907)

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe…

–from Dubliners, James Joyce

“I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless…” (“Couldn’t I Just Tell You”)

cf. State Library and Archives of Florida, Northwood Mall on opening day (1969)

I could not find any sixpenny entrance and, fearing that the bazaar would be closed, I passed in quickly through a turnstile, handing a shilling to a weary-looking man. I found myself in a big hall girdled at half its height by a gallery. Nearly all the stalls were closed and the greater part of the hall was in darkness. I recognised a silence like that which pervades a church after a service. I walked into the centre of the bazaar timidly. A few people were gathered about the stalls which were still open. Before a curtain, over which the words Café Chantant were written in coloured lamps, two men were counting money on a salver. I listened to the fall of the coins.

Remembering with difficulty why I had come I went over to one of the stalls and examined porcelain vases and flowered tea-sets. At the door of the stall a young lady was talking and laughing with two young gentlemen. I remarked their English accents and listened vaguely to their conversation.
“O, I never said such a thing!”
“O, but you did!”
“O, but I didn’t!”
“Didn’t she say that?”
“Yes. I heard her.”
“O, there’s a … fib!”

Observing me the young lady came over and asked me did I wish to buy anything. The tone of her voice was not encouraging; she seemed to have spoken to me out of a sense of duty. I looked humbly at the great jars that stood like eastern guards at either side of the dark entrance to the stall and murmured:
“No, thank you.”

The young lady changed the position of one of the vases and went back to the two young men. They began to talk of the same subject. Once or twice the young lady glanced at me over her shoulder.

I lingered before her stall, though I knew my stay was useless, to make my interest in her wares seem the more real. Then I turned away slowly and walked down the middle of the bazaar. I allowed the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall was now completely dark.

Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.

–from Dubliners, James Joyce

Couldn’t I just tell you the way I feel?
I can’t keep it bottled up inside
And could we pretend that it’s no big deal
And there’s really nothing left to hide?

Tender Is The Night

Harris & Ewing, Young woman and man at automobile (1932 or 1933)

He went into the house, forgetting something he wanted to do there, and then remembering it was the piano. He sat down whistling and played by ear:

“Just picture you upon my knee
With tea for two and two for tea
And me for you and you for me–“

Through the melody flowed a sudden realization that Nicole, hearing it, would guess quickly at a nostalgia for the past fortnight. He broke off with a casual chord and left the piano…

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night

“Time is the school in which we learn”

George Laur, Students on Their Way to Senior High School… (ca. 1975)

What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.

–Delmore Schwartz, Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day (excerpt)

Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight…

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

Flip Schulke, Vacationer From Ohio Relaxes near His Motorcycle… (ca. 1975)

“For me this is all mixed with memories that he doesn’t have. Cold mornings long ago when the marsh grass had turned brown and cattails were waving in the northwest wind…”

—Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I’ve been this way ten years to the day, ramble on…

In Search Of Lost Time

cf. Michael Philip Manheim, Constitution Beach… (detail) (1973)

And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the interval, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks’ windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the forms of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.

—Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Star-Gazer

cf. Adolph B. Rice Studio, Thalhimers, boy’s bicycle (1957) and John Thomas, The last of the old candlemakers (ca. 1885) and Thomas Milburn, Train window (2015) and photograph by Juskteez Vu via Unsplash

Forty-two years ago (to me if to no one else
The number is of some interest) it was a brilliant starry night
And the westward train was empty and had no corridors
So darting from side to side I could catch the unwonted sight
Of those almost intolerably bright
Holes, punched in the sky, which excited me partly because
Of their Latin names and partly because I had read in the textbooks
How very far off they were, it seemed their light
Had left them (some at least) long years before I was.

And this remembering now I mark that what
Light was leaving some of them at least then,
Forty-two years ago, will never arrive
In time for me to catch it, which light when
It does get here may find that there is not
Anyone left alive
To run from side to side in a late night train
Admiring it and adding noughts in vain.

—Louis MacNeice, Star-Gazer

“We grow accustomed to the dark when light is put away”

Marjory Collins, Bowery hotel about midnight (1942)

We grow accustomed to the Dark —
When Light is put away —
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye —

A Moment — We uncertain step
For newness of the night —
Then — fit our Vision to the Dark —
And meet the Road — erect–

And so of larger — Darkness —
Those Evenings of the Brain —
When not a Moon disclose a sign —
Or Star — come out — within —

The Bravest — grope a little —
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead —
But as they learn to see —

Either the Darkness alters —
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight —
And Life steps almost straight.

–Emily Dickinson

In the darkest place
I know that is where you’ll find me
Even though you didn’t have to remind me
I shut out the lights
Your eyes adjust
They’ll never be the same…

Summer Storm

cf. James Jowers, E. River (1968)

We stood on the rented patio
While the party went on inside.
You knew the groom from college.
I was a friend of the bride.

We hugged the brownstone wall behind us
To keep our dress clothes dry
And watched the sudden summer storm
Floodlit against the sky.

The rain was like a waterfall
Of brilliant beaded light,
Cool and silent as the stars
The storm hid from the night.

To my surprise, you took my arm-
A gesture you didn’t explain-
And we spoke in whispers, as if we two
Might imitate the rain.

Then suddenly the storm receded
As swiftly as it came.
The doors behind us opened up.
The hostess called your name.

I watched you merge into the group,
Aloof and yet polite.
We didn’t speak another word
Except to say goodnight.

Why does that evening’s memory
Return with this night’s storm —
A party twenty years ago,
Its disappointments warm?

— Dana Gioia, Summer Storm (excerpt)

Does anyone recall
The saddest love of all
The one that lets you fall
Nothing to hold
It’s the love untold

Friends

Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Group of seven artists at a party at the home of Yasuo Kuniyoshi (detail) (ca. 1921)

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.

—William Butler Yeats, The Municipal Gallery Revisited

Bartleby, the Scrivener

cf. Frances Benjamin Johnston, Post Office Dept. – Dead Letter Office (edited)

Yet, thought I, it is evident enough that Bartleby has been making his home here, keeping bachelor’s hall all by himself. Immediately then the thought came sweeping across me, What miserable friendlessness and loneliness are here revealed! His poverty is great; but his solitude, how horrible! Think of it. Of a Sunday, Wall-street is deserted as Petra; and every night of every day it is an emptiness. This building too, which of week-days hums with industry and life, at nightfall echoes with sheer vacancy, and all through Sunday is forlorn. And here Bartleby makes his home; sole spectator of a solitude which he has seen all populous —a sort of innocent and transformed Marius brooding among the ruins of Carthage!…

Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!

—Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener

“…kept with him a sense as of snow falling about him, a secret screen of new snow between himself and the world.”

—Conrad Aiken, Silent Snow, Secret Snow

Father And Son

Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., “…Model apartment living room, to sofa” (1941)

I lived on a hill that had too many rooms;
Light we could make, but not enough of warmth,
And when the light failed, I climbed under the hill.
The papers are delivered every day;
I am alone and never shed a tear.

—Stanely Kunitz, Father And Son (excerpt)
 

“Something Warm” – Rick Derringer